Pictures. Awareness. Gratitude.

I’ve been going through boxes of pictures, cards, and kids stuff in an attempt to organize it better. I really want all my pictures and memories documented, organized and easily accessible instead of stored away in a plastic tote.

Tonight I found our Christmas card from 2020. When I read what I wrote, I was like, wow!

Obviously, 2020 started off with the weirdness of COVID. It really didn’t effect us too much personally when it was first a thing, other than being annoying and inconvenient.

The entirety of 2020 carried many of my own personal struggles. It had been a difficult, sad, scary couple of years prior for me and it wasn’t getting better. I was struggling with depression, anxiety and felt very alone and hopeless. I worked hard to find remedies as the months wore on.

Then in early August, Anthyn had his accident and in those first hours before we knew any details, everything in my world came crashing down. Between the moment of that dreaded phone call until I was finally able to see him and speak with doctors, I didn’t know if he was going to live or die. I had no idea what the extent of his injuries were or what had even happened for sure.
I was absolutely sure I was going to die though. The thought of possibly losing him, him dying, was terrifying. I was an ball of anxiety and panic and I didn’t even know what to do with myself in those first initial hours. And then, I remember watching them load him into the helicopter and even though I knew very little, God spoke to my heart and I knew he was going to live, he was going to be ok, and I knew we could do whatever it was he was facing. He had a fairly quick, full recovery. I learned so much by watching him find grit, courage and strength those first few days and then watch him ache during the weeks ahead to get back to normal activity. I learned then, to cherish my people and the moments and the days. I felt like we had been very blessed to be able to keep Anthyn and the others in the accident, here with us. I felt so grateful to have my family healthy and whole.

When I wrote the words on this Christmas card, I felt deep gratitude and I was full of hope for 2021.

Only 2021 was full of more hard, difficult and sad. It felt like a continual struggle of hard, on top of more hard on top of more hard. Then on September 6, after a chain of events, I felt that same gut wrenching feeling, that I may have lost a child. Only this time it was real. On September 7, it was confirmed and I began living what I had always said I could never, ever make it through. Teagan was gone. He was gone just six months after Meghann went to Heaven and then just six weeks after Teagan, Gage went too. During the time period between losing Meghann and Teagan, I also endured a second trimester miscarriage.

So. Much. Loss.

The hope I felt at the beginning of the the year, now felt mocking and foreign to me.

When I looked at this card tonight and what I had written, it took me just a minute to reabsorb that this is my life. That the past few years have been nothing close to what I expected my life to be or become. Some days I feel like this is just life with all its ups and downs and I can lift my chin and get to work and make things happen, and other days the gravity of the reality of loss and grief feels like an anvil on my chest and I can’t breath or move or speak.

I don’t have answers. I can’t make sense of much of anything the last few years have poured out. Most days, I just think, “What in the actual heck?”

But I always come back to a few simple things that burn bright and true for me.

God is good. All the time. Even in the hardest of the hard. He is there. The image of the outreached hand of Jesus is burned into my brain and each time I am struggling, that image is what comes to my mind and my awareness. I am forever grateful.

Because I’m painfully aware that life can change in an instant, I now enjoy each moment more than I used to. Tonight, sitting with a couple of my kids going through old puzzles and games while Rustin and the other kids watched a movie near us, was an amazing moment for me. I made sure to take a second and breath it in. So insignificant, but so significant at the same time.

We all matter. We all have a purpose and a path here on this earth. My personal belief is some of it is predestined and most of it is awareness, decisions and the choices we make. There is light and goodness and greatness in all of God’s creations. What we choose to do with it is up to us. There is Devine potential in every human being. It’s up to us to put it to use.

And no matter what we do, we will experience joy AND sorrow. I have no idea what tomorrow is going to bring, and if I’m being totally honest, at this point in my life, I am terrified to even wonder or ask or assume. I think there might be a diagnosis for someone who only goes a few months before starting to fear the “next thing”. (I’m kind of kidding but mostly not.😳) Anyway, my point being, life is never just all good or all bad. It’s a journey of both and many more experiences and emotions. It’s the human experience and dang it, I’m here for it. Because we get one go at it. One chance at this thing called mortality. So, whatever experiences I’m given, I’m going to feel them and live them. Learn from them or love them. But I’m not taking one single second for granted.

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